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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 01:48 GMT 02:48 UK
East End Cockney accent 'fading'
Pearly kings and queens
Traditional images of the East End are being replaced
A new form of accent is replacing the traditional Cockney in some parts of the East End, research has found.

White youths are among those speaking in a dialect combining Bangladeshi and Cockney influences - reflecting population changes in the area.

Research for the BBC Voices project found white youngsters had adopted words from Bangladeshi friends such as "nang" (good) and "creps" (trainers).

Similar accent changes were also found in areas of Cardiff and Liverpool.

Local identity

A nine-month study of youngsters took place at a youth club in the borough of Tower Hamlets, East London as part of the BBC project into accents and dialects across the UK.

"The majority of young people of school age are of Bangladeshi origin and this has had tremendous impact on the dialect spoken in the area," said Sue Fox, a research fellow at Queen Mary College, University of London.

In Cardiff I've heard a number of accent mixes that weren't previously heard before
Professor David Crystal

She said they were using a "Bangladeshi-accented" variety of English closer to Received Pronunciation, particularly in its vowel pronunciation.

"What I've actually found with the young people in Tower Hamlets is that they are using a variety of English which is not traditionally associated with Cockney English."

She said the so-called lexical borrowing from the Bangladeshi community was more prevalent among young white men than among white, teenage girls.

Meanwhile, the researchers said the traditional Cockney accent had started to shift to towns and boroughs around the capital, a process which started when many families moved out after World War II.

"Accents are a reflection of society and as society changes so accents change," said one of the consultants to the project, professor David Crystal.

Professor Crystal said the East End example was repeating itself in many urban communities across the UK, especially where new residents are keen to develop a strong sense of local identity.

"In Liverpool as well as the traditional Scouse accent you will hear distinct Caribbean-Scouse, African-Scouse as well as Indian-Scouse accents," he said.

"In Cardiff I've heard a number of accent mixes that weren't previously heard before such as Cardiff-Arabic and Cardiff-Hindi."

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